Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast is an incredibly beautiful place. This tiny town, with less than 1,700 residents, plays host to more than 750,000 visitors each year. Cannon Beach is surrounded by beauty: the ocean, mountains, and Ecola Creek. The debris from the 2011 tsunami that hit Japan threatens Cannon Beach as well as all of the other beautiful beaches up and down the west coast.
The tsunami debris that is making its way to the coast of Oregon is a threat to all the things that are important to the people living in Cannon Beach, and the rest of the Oregon Coast. The city of Cannon Beach provides clean-up along its 4 miles of coastline twice each week. Many local residents pick up garbage as they go about their daily lives. When the tsunami debris arrives the mass of debris may be overwhelming. SOLVE (Stop Oregon Litter and Vandalism) bags are available in Cannon Beach at city hall and at the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce for anyone who wants to pick up debris.
Scientists believe that most of the debris from the Japanese tsunami will arrive in the fall storms. What is washing up right now is only the beginning. The State of Oregon set up a hotline began operation on June 29th. Anyone seeing debris that needs to be picked up is asked to call 211.
The tsunami debris clean-up is predicted to be very expensive. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration will be providing Oregon with $50,000 to help with the project. Unfortunately, the cost to dispose of the dock that has already washed on shore is estimated to cost $85,000. The cost to run the hotline for 2 years is projected to be $100,000. Debris disposal will probably be at least $100,000.
The State Parks Department has rented 32 steel waste containers as drop off containers for debris. Debris will be accepted if it is in a SOLVE bag. The Parks Department has placed containers in every county along the Oregon Coast. Beach visitors are asked to pick up any trash they find that will fit in a SOLVE bag. Anything too large to fit in a bag should be reported to the hotline. Anything that has living creatures on it should be reported immediately and if possible moved above the high tide line.
Four non-profit groups (CoastWatch, Surfrider Foundation, SOLVE and Washed Ashore) have joined to form the Oregon Marine Debris Team. They hope to organize volunteers to monitor the coast, report debris, and help with clean-up projects.
The approaching tsunami debris threatens the entire Oregon Coast. The natural beauty found in Cannon Beach, and along the rest of the Oregon Coast, is at risk. The debris will not only make the beaches trashy, it may threaten the lives on the creatures that live in the ocean, along the shores, and in the streams and rivers that empty into the ocean.
Article written by Mary Boyer
To learn more about the Tsunami debris washing up on the Oregon Coast beaches check out these articles.